Pink Moon Founder Lin Chen Explains Gua Sha
Words by Ashley Locke
Sustainability has become a buzzword in the last few years; people care more than ever about the environmental impact of the products and services they consume. The term “sustainable brands” peaked at its most-searched in June of 2020. You see sustainability in packaging, in clothing, and in one of its most booming industries—beauty. Though it may seem like another passing trend, Lin Chen has made sustainable beauty a part of her personal and professional life for nearly a decade.
Lin, the founder and CEO of wellness community Pink Moon, first realized the company as a consulting firm for sustainable beauty brands, but it wasn’t long before she realized the need for customer community. “I was living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a really residential area, and I noticed there was a high concentration of moms and families, but there wasn’t really a community space for women,” she said. “That was a surprise to me, because women often shift to natural beauty products when they are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. I wanted to open a community brick-and-mortar space, but when COVID hit, it changed my plans.”
Like many other business owners, Lin used COVID as an opportunity to get creative online, inviting more women into the community she was building. She started curating a storefront and a space where women could share their experiences and ask questions about the products they were using. “Most women told us one of their pain points was that beauty stores are so overwhelming with unvetted choices,” said Lin. “We want to be an advocate for our customers—I wanted it to be a tightly curated collection. At Pink Moon, self-love is at the core of everything we do. Self-care is emotional and mental health. We really want to be beyond a beauty company.”
Lin was raised in southern California, and she went to school in both Texas and Taiwan. Those experiences helped her cultivate the welcoming space that Pink Moon has become. “Venturing outside of my comfort zone and being far away from home has taught me to be resilient and ambitious, and meeting people from all backgrounds opened my eyes to different ideas,” she said.” In my business, we have customers all over the world. A lot of how we market our brand is by thinking globally.”
One of Pink Moon’s most popular products as of late is its Rose Quartz Gua Sha Facial Tool. The practice of Gua Sha has been around for centuries, but it has seen a recent surge in popularity. We chatted with Lin about the history of Gua Sha and why so many women are finding peace in the practice.
Where did Gua Sha originate, and what are the benefits?
Gua Sha originated from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) over 4,000 years ago. It was traditionally used on the body—it didn’t become popular for facials until five to ten years ago. The facial was created by Dr. Ping Zhang, who popularized it in the West.
The literal translation of Gua Sha from Mandarin means to trace sand, and that action is like what you are doing as you glide the stone across your face or body. The practice is good for so many things—moving stagnant energy, relieving aches, stimulating blood flow—if you get cold fingers and toes in the winter, it can help make you warmer. It’s good for puffiness in the face, defining cheekbones and jawlines, smoothing out fine lines, and it’s good for those who deal with acne and eczema.
When did you first start practicing Gua Sha? When did you bring it to Pink Moon?
I didn’t start doing it until about two years ago, but I grew up with TCM in my household. I launched the Pink Moon Gua Sha Tool in late 2019 for a holiday pop-up. It sold out, and we had a lot of customers reaching out to ask how to use it. We wanted to inspire women to take time for themselves. It’s a skincare tool, but it’s also a self-love tool.
What is the importance of the stones that are traditionally used?
There are all different types of stones, from jade to amethyst. Jade and rose quartz are cooling stones. We chose rose quartz because it's tied to self-love. Bian is one of the traditional stones. It’s a black tool and a little bit harder—it’s good for the body, and rose quartz is more delicate and better for your face.
Gua Sha has been seeing a modern resurgence. Why do you think that is?
I think during COVID a lot of people were seeking out natural healing solutions. The anti-Asian violence earlier in the spring helped people learn about cultural appropriation, and that encouraged people to become really interested in learning the culture behind the practice. I know it also went viral on TikTok.
Why is it important to understand the culture and history of Gua Sha?
It’s important to learn about the history of practices from yoga to Gua Sha, so you can respect and honor their roots. If I’m delving into another culture, I want to learn about it. I think it’s important to honor and respect the heritage, and then you can respectfully practice.
What is something beginners to the practice should know?
I think people need to understand that it is a Chinese medicinal practice. Before making a conclusion, you need to understand where it originates and why. It’s not just about facial appearance—it’s focusing on acupressure points along the body tied to certain organs, and you can use the tool to massage those points. It’s best to learn the techniques from a Chinese medicine practitioner so you can learn what points to avoid. Make sure you always start on a clean face and use an emollient product.